300 years of Freemasons’ jewels go on display in major new exhibition at Museum of Freemasonry

The Museum of Freemasonry has opened the first major exhibition of masonic jewels in the UK.  Bejewelled: Badges, Brotherhood and Identity (20th September 2018 – 24th August 2019), showcases over 150 jewels from the Museum’s collection of masonic jewels from around the world, including the UK, India, Zambia, Chile, the USA and beyond. Masonic jewels are specially crafted badges worn by freemasons. Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious non-political fraternal and charitable organisations.

Masonic jewels may signify the lodge or rank a freemason belongs to, or a special event or a charitable act. The jewels in this exhibition represent the full history of freemasonry: from the opulent gold and green of the Authors’ Lodge jewel which was associated the Authors’ Club and included members such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling, to the Prince of Wales Lodge jewel crafted in secret by prisoners of war in Singapore during World War II, to the elegant pearl-adorned jewel for the Women’s Grand Lodge of Germany.

As well as their masonic career, the jewels express part of a freemason’s personal identity including their interests and profession. The exhibition explores the symbolism of badges beyond freemasonry, and asks why we wear badges, pins and medals.

The finely crafted jewels on display will give visitors incredible insight into how freemasonry has endured and evolved over the past 300 years. Curator Mark JR Dennis has worked with designers Outside Studios to combine his expertise with their design flair to produce an exhibition that takes an important aspect of freemasonry back to its roots.

Bejewelled: Badges, Brotherhood and Identity
Museum of Freemasonry, 60 Great Queen St, London WC2B 5AZ
20th September 2018 – 24th September 2019

About Mark JR Dennis, Curator
Mark J R Dennis has been curator of the Museum of Freemasonry since 1999. In that time Mark has designed and curated exhibitions on subjects as diverse as the fine art photography of Alvin Langdon Coburn, to Craft and Conflict which looked at masonic trench art, and masonic links to King Solomon’s Temple. Before joining the Museum, Mark was the first curator of the HM Customs and Excise Museum (now the Border Force Museum). He is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Bristol on Masonic Material Culture.

About the Museum of Freemasonry
Explore 300 years of masonic history at the home of English freemasonry. Located at Freemason’s Hall, one of the London’s landmark Art Deco buildings at the heart of the capital: the museum, library and archive present the finest collection of masonic ceremonial objects and books from around the world. Open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, admission is free.

About Freemasonry
Freemasonry is an historic society which promotes an approach to life based on integrity, tolerance, kindness, honesty and fairness. It means different things to each of those who join. For some it may be about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes and making a contribution to the community.

Photo credit: Past Masters jewel, Authors’ Lodge No 3456 (c) Museum of Freemasonry

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